TASS continues to prioritise mental health support for athletes

A TASS athlete meets with a lifestyle practitioner (Credit: Sport England/Andy Thompson)

TASS has underlined its commitment to supporting the wellbeing of talented young sportspeople from across England after teaming up with a mental health counselling service.

More than 600 TASS-supported athletes are being offered over the phone support from expert counsellors at Bupa Healthy Minds to talk through any worries and concerns before they become bigger problems.

The counselling support can also be used to help with a range of mental health issues from stress and self-esteem to anxiety and depression, with the option for further clinical treatment from qualified practitioners if it’s required.

This will be the second year TASS has partnered with a mental wellbeing support service as an enhancement its existing package of core support services that includes psychology, personal development and lifestyle advice.

TASS National Lead for Sport, Craig Williams, is responsible for overseeing the programme of support services provided to hundreds of talented athletes each year. He said: “As an organisation we’re acutely aware of the challenges that student-athletes face.

“These young people might be studying for A level exams, making the daunting move away from home to university, or even thinking about what to do after graduation – all whilst dealing with the additional pressures of performance sport.

“Mental health problems are common and student-athletes are not immune to these issues. They have to learn to cope with the demands of juggling their sport and studies and it’s our role to make sure there’s support in place to help manage this,” he explained.

In addition to the counselling helpline, student-athletes are able to tap into an online emotional wellbeing programme for support with coping with the day-to-day demands of life and a computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT) is available to those who need it.

Meanwhile at 33 TASS Delivery Sites across the country, athletes will be assigned to a lifestyle practitioner who will work closely with them to help balance the demands of a dual career and manage any key transitions that could trigger mental health issues.

Williams added: “Our network of lifestyle practitioners already does an excellent job of guiding and advising the young athletes, but we’re positive the specialist support from Bupa Healthy Minds will prove to be an invaluable addition what’s available from the Delivery Sites.”